Central Gauteng takes SA Senior IPT glory

Western Province and Gauteng North did everything possible to spoil Central Gauteng’s party, but they could not stop the Lions from roaring to a successful title defence in the 30th South African Senior Inter-Provincial in Knysna on Friday.

The 2016 champions put an exclamation mark on an unbeaten run in this year’s A-Division contest when they drew 6-all in two tightly contested skirmishes against both teams.

Central Gauteng finished the week at the top of the pile with 12 points.

“We started the final round with a healthy cushion and a lot of guys already came to congratulate us after the third round, but the victory is never in the bag for us until the final putt drops,” said Central Gauteng manager Jaco du Plessis.

The defending champions began the final charge to victory with a three point advantage over Western Province and they were four points up on Gauteng North.

“It didn’t shock me when we were 1.5 – 2.5 down against Province after the foursomes,” Du Plessis said. “The senior circuit is highly competitive and you can never get complacent in this format, but I had a lot of faith in our players.

“Every guy on the team had a job to do and they are the kind of players any manager would kill for. They never, ever give up. They fight until the last drop of blood to get us a win. When one player is struggling, three more step it up.”

“Throughout the week the two Steves in the top order (Steve Williams and Stephen Johnston) was absolutely sublime. Our middle order – stalwart Jock Wellington, skipper Schalk Naude and the ever-green Greg Gleeson – kept the momentum going and our rookies Derek Reyneke and Rurik Gobel were so impressive. Richard Bruyns, the first man out in the singles on the final day, got us the most important halve of the week. There was always someone putting their hand up.”

Central’s number one Steve Williams won both his matches and number two Johnston defeated Herman September from Province 1-up, but went 2-down to Gordon Wessels from Gauteng North.

Wellington and Gleeson had a tough day at the office with losses both ways, but Naude picked up the slack with a proper captain’s innings. He railroaded Conrad Rauch from Gauteng North 6 & 5 and beat Tony Bailey 2 & 1 to keep the side going against Western Province.

Reyneke lost 5 & 3 to Henry Trevena from Province, but he beat Christie le Roux from Gauteng North 4 & 2 and Gobel won his games 3 & 2 and 2-up.

“Richard was narrowly beaten by Adrian Kriel from Gauteng North, but he squared against Dave Johnston from Province,” said Du Plessis. “Stephen’s win and Richard’s halve got us to 6-all with Western Province and Rurik and Steve’s put us all-square with the Daisies.

“I am incredibly proud of this team’s achievement. Like I said, it’s a team effort. That is the philosophy Andy (Truluck) and I drill into all our players. There is a time when you play for yourself, but this is the week where everything you do is for your team-mate. Their commitment to each other was the key to their success here in Knysna. There were no heroes here this week; just eight guys who batted for each other.”

Not surprisingly, five players from the victorious team featured in the top 10 on the Most Valuable Player’s (MWP) list.

Top spot went to former SA Mid-Amateur Stroke Play champion Graeme Watson from Ekurhuleni, who amassed 13 points and helped his team to beat Southern Cape 7.5 – 4.5 and KwaZulu-Natal 6.5 – 5.5 in the final round to take third spot in the final log.

Williams and Johnston tied for second with 12 points, Bertus Smit from Southern Cape finished fourth with 11.5 points and Reyneke and Naude shared seventh on 10 points with Kevin Monk from Ekurhuleni. Gobel tied for 10th with Western Province pair Dave Johnston and Craig Polton.

Western Province sealed the runner-up spot for a second successive year with 10 points after defeating Gauteng North 7 – 5, while Southern Cape downed KwaZulu-Natal 8 – 4 to take fourth in the standings ahead of Gauteng North, who lost 7 – 5 to Western Province.

KwaZulu-Natal finished in sixth spot and North West edged out Mpumalanga for the wooden spoon, sending last year’s winners back to the B-Division.

Senior A-Division Final Round Results
North West 6.5 vs Mpumalanga 5.5
Central Gauteng 6 vs Western Province 6
Central Gauteng 6 vs Gauteng North 6
Western Province 7 vs Gauteng North 5
Ekurhuleni 6.5 vs KwaZulu-Natal 5.5
Ekurhuleni 7.5 vs Southern Cape 4.5
KwaZulu-Natal 4 vs Southern Cape 8

Seniors A-Division Final Log
(Position, Union, Played, Win, Draw, Loss, Points, Games)
1 Central Gauteng (7, 5, 2, 0, 12, 56.5)
2 Western Province (7, 4, 2, 1, 10, 48.0)
3 Ekurhuleni (7, 4, 1, 2, 9, 46.5)
4 Southern Cape (7, 4, 0, 3, 8, 47.0)
5 Gauteng North (7, 3, 1, 3, 7, 43.0)
6 North West (7, 2, 0, 5, 4, 34.0); Kwazulu-Natal (7, 2, 0, 5, 4, 34.0)
8 Mpumalanga (7, 1, 0, 6, 2, 27.0)

PHOTO – The 2017 SA Senior Inter-Provincial champions Central Gauteng; credit Pieter Els.
Back, left to right – Greg Gleeson, Richard Bruyns, Jaco du Plessis (manager), Rurik Gobel and Derek Reyneke.
Front, left to right – Steve Williams, Schalk Naude (captain), Jock Wellington and Stephen Johnston.

Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of GolfRSA, a SAGA and WGSA Not-For-Profit company.

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